A friend and I were discussing some of our dating woes the other night.
We are both in our thirties, confident and yet romantic. She really wants to have children. I am still undecided.
The biggest romance killer for us turns out to be a battle of wills and egos. Not on our end — from a guy’s perspective.
In the abstract, it’s clear that more women in our generation are able to care for themselves economically and socially outside of marriages than in previous ones. In real life, on the ground, in the dating trenches, it appears that men really dislike independent women.
Loathe would be the best term.
Even if a guy says he’s OK with a woman who has had better quality education than he has, the way it appears to assault the male ego emerges in all kinds of crazy ways. For instance, you might be talking about your favorite kind of cake, and he’ll make a snide comment about how he “wasn’t smart enough to go to a school as fancy as Vassar.”
It is so strange. Plus, nothing spells sexy like a backhanded compliment. Instead of a man saying, “I feel insecure that you had a better education than I did,” he’s more likely to make a woman feel like crap for having an opportunity he didn’t have, or that he had and somehow passed up.
This is why I often celebrate the single life. When you’re single you don’t have to have these painful interactions.
But that doesn’t mean that I intend to stay single my entire life. So eventually, I’ll have to figure out the best way to cope with this.
In the meantime, I’m curious about the word independence and what it means to be too independent. I did a lot of self-parenting as a child and I have been an independent woman since before Destiny’s Child made it a rallying cry. Tyrese and other self-proclaimed “relationship experts” have made it a point to deride black women in particular for the same qualities that have made it possible for black women to thrive and succeed in a culture that largely dismisses them and rarely celebrates more than one of them at a time.
People seem to confuse independence for lack of desire for company. So yes, I am self-sufficient. But I rely heavily on my friends for spiritual and emotional support. So in the sense that I’m not dependent on them as the sole source of love, affection and money — yes, I am independent.
Through meditation, I can drop some of the concern I have about being too independent. But I have been single for such a long time that I’m set in my ways, I like the freedom to do what I want, when I want, without consulting anyone else. Independence in a mate, too, is a wonderful, attractive, hot thing. I’m drawn to people who assert their independence, and go off into the sunset to surf or build planes or whatever it is you other independent people do.
But what does it mean to be too independent? How do you know you’ve gone too far?